• Other Friendship Advice

Confused about difference between friends and lovers

Published: July 14, 2013 | Last Updated: July 14, 2013 By | 3 Replies Continue Reading
Although there are similarities between friends and lovers, the relationships aren’t the same.


Dear Irene,

A couple of years ago I met a girl I started hanging out with. After a couple of months, we became pretty good friends and used talk about all kinds of stuff. She became a very dear person to me and I started having feelings for her. Since I never felt anything like that before, I thought I had fallen in love with her although I wasn’t physically attracted to her.

Most of my male friends believed my feelings were genuine, that she probably felt the same, and encouraged me to take action. One day I confessed my feelings. She said she didn’t feel the same and we couldn’t see each other anymore.

I was devastated and tried desperately to convince her to get back to me, but eventually gave up and moved on with my life. I read all sorts of articles about the friend zone and unrequited love. During this time, I made three or four attempts to get back together and we even met twice. But my fears made me pull back each time. I thought that since we wanted different things it was best we stay away from each other.

During this time I had several friendships with girls, some of which have turned into romantic relationships. However, none of them worked because physical attraction was missing. After several such experiences, I realized that I never felt anything more than friendship for these girls. I had convinced myself that physical attraction wasn’t important and all that counted was that we got along well. I was rejecting girls I was attracted to, considering the feelings to be superficial, and always turned towards my female friends for emotional support.

When I understood these feelings and felt more confident, I contacted my old friend, thinking we could rekindle our friendship. I sent her a message on Facebook asking her to hang out. She said we could, that she was working in a pub, and gave me the address if I wanted to stop by and visit. I told her I thought it would be better if we postponed meeting for a time when she wasn’t busy doing other stuff.

I recently broke up with a girlfriend, to whom I had lied at the beginning of our relationship. I had told her that I had had a relationship with this other woman, thinking I’d make a better impression since I’d been single for a while when I met her. My ex-girlfriend became jealous after hearing this and contacted my friend, revealing my lie. I told my friend it was a petty lie just to make a better impression, that any feelings I thought I had for her are gone, and I just want to be friends. She said she wasn’t upset and she would get back to me when she had the time.

However a couple of months passed and she never contacted me, probably even turned Facebook chat off for me since I haven’t seen her online anymore. I sent her two messages a couple of days apart asking if she was upset or something and that if she doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. I understand but I’d just like her to tell me.

I understand I probably exhausted all my chances with this girl, I’d only like to understand what happened and why. It’s hard for me to believe the lie I told to my ex made her behave like that because I personally find a lie like that childish and innocent. Did she grow apart from me that much that she doesn’t even want to casually hang out or have a short conversation?

Signed, Peter


Hi Peter,

Peter, it would have been helpful to know your age. You sound young and if not very young, somewhat immature and inexperienced in life. Although there are many similarities between friends and lovers, the two relationships aren’t the same. Admittedly, it’s somewhat complicated because friends can be lovers and lovers can be friends. But, in general, lovers are generally thought of as two people who have a sustained, reciprocal relationship that includes sex.

If you have been confused, it’s understandable that your behavior would be confusing to the people around you. Also, you haven’t been honest about your feelings with your ex or with our friend. If you lie, how can you expect anyone to trust or believe anything you say?

I do not place great hope that you can repair the damage you have already caused with your friend. Too much time has passed and there are too many hurt feelings. If she wanted to be in contact with you, she would have over these months apart. But, you may feel better telling the truth and lifting this burden from your shoulders.

I wouldn’t recommend communicating with your friend online or showing up unannounced at the pub. Since she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to read your emails or electronic communications, you could send her a written note—apologizing for your confused and confusing behavior, telling her how you feel, and telling her you want to simply set the record straight. I doubt she will respond. To help avoid confusion in the future, which has the potential to be hurtful to you and others, I would also suggest that you speak to a counselor to help you sort out your feelings towards women.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Some prior posts on The Friendship Blog about opposite sex friendships

What are your thoughts about the differences between friends and lovers?

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Opposite sex friends

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. jacqueline says:


    Next time, make sure you begin a foundation with trust, honesty, and love. The truth always comes out, sooner or later. With you, it was just later.

    Forget about these two women. You have acknowledged you made mistakes, which will help you move forward with your life.

    Good luck!

  2. Peter says:

    Irene, thanks for your kind reply. I’m 25 but this has been a lingering issue since I was 20; when I told those lies I was at most 21 but it’s true that just now I’ve started to put my feelings in order.

    Originally I thought my friend had talked with my ex just that once but have recently found out they’ve been gossiping behind my back several times, which actually explains a lot of my dilemma. Not everything, but enough to understand I have lost her trust and respect and I don’t want to be around a person who behaves like that. Our friendship has probably never been real since she trashed me for a person unknown to her. I’ve probably just been the fool in this whole story. I don’t think another attempt at explaining myself could bring back something that was probably never there. I currently just feel disappointed, mostly about myself, for letting myself waste energy on somebody who wasn’t worth it to begin with.

    Ironically some of the advice I received years ago regarding my confusion with this girl came from counselors. I was explaining I wasn’t physically attracted to my friend and they were trying to convince me I fell in love with her because she was beautiful. It was’t exactly in a counseling session, but still some of the worst I’ve ever received. Thanks again for your kind words.

Leave a Reply